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Emerging talent takes centre stage at Finnish Film Affair

Finland’s biggest film industry event, the Finnish Film Affair, takes place 23.-25.9.2020 as part of Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy. The event’s showcase day of upcoming Finnish films and Nordic talent will take place online on Thursday 24 September. A third of the films presented in the programme are debut features.

This year’s edition of Finnish Film Affair will take over both Helsinki and the online sphere. The event will be attended by over 300 industry professionals, with local industry in attendance in Helsinki and 150 delegates online. The event’s guest list includes representatives from Netflix, HBO Europe, over 30 sales agencies as well as festivals such as Berlinale, Hot Docs and Sundance.

The event will showcase nearly 50 Finnish films, with 27 of them in development, production or post-production. Upcoming projects in development include Lapland War by Aku Louhimies (The Unknown Soldier), and animations Bear Park (dir. Leena Jääskeläinen & Kaisa Penttilä) and Malcolm Rocks (dir. Kari Juusonen). Johanna Vuoksenmaa’s comedy 70 is Just a Number, and The Twin, the new horror feature by Taneli Mustonen (Lake Bodom), are presented in the Works in Progress section. The eight documentaries pitched at the event include The Black Gold (dir. Petteri Saario) and Alina Rudnitskaya’s The Trans Syrian Express, a Finland-Russia-Poland co-production.

The event’s Nordic Selection, curated for the first time this year, highlights four fiction films by 1st or 2nd feature directors from Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Included in the selection are Superposition, the first feature by Danish filmmaker Karoline Lyngbye and produced by Beo Starling’s Amalie Lyngbo Quist; and Quake, first feature by Tinna Hrafnsdóttir and produced by Hlín  Jóhannesdóttir from Ursus Parvus.

A third of the films presented in the event’s showcase and lineup are debut features. The overall percentage of programme titles with at least one non-male director is 58%.

The rising stars of Nordic sales agents and distributors

The event’s Nordic Flair training initiative, supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond, focuses for the first time on emerging Nordic sales agents and distributors.
This year’s cohort of rising stars includes Emma Caviezel (Acquisitions Coordinator, Draken Film), Sofie Jensen (Distribution Assistant & Marketing Coordinator, Øst for Paradis), Agnete Juul (Head of Booking, Camera Film), Tytti Rantanen (Programme Coordinator, AV-arkki –The Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art), Lauren Valmadre (Sales & Acquisition Manager, LevelK) and Aron Víglundsson (Marketing & Distribution Manager, Bíó Paradís).

“There’s been a clear demand for a co-Nordic training initiative for these trades and the feedback we’ve received has been very encouraging. We are looking forward to hearing the ideas our participants brainstorm together and would love to continue this focus at future Finnish Film Affairs as well,” Maria Pirkkalainen, Head of Finnish Film Affair and Nordic Flair says.

Finnish Film Affair’s accreditation is now open until 17 September for film industry professionals from around the world. An online pass for the three-day event costs 30 euros.

List of projects at Finnish Film Affair’s showcase

Works in Development (fiction)
Bear Park (dir. Leena Jääskeläinen & Kaisa Penttilä), Pyjama Films
Helsinki Poets (dir. Juha Fiilin), Silva Mysterium
Lapland War (dir. Aku Louhimies), Backmann & Hoderoff
Malcolm Rocks (dir. Kari Juusonen), MRP Matila Röhr Productions
Memento Mori (dir. Pekka Hara), TBA
Never Enough White Roses (dir. Miika Soini), Butterworks, Roy Andersson Filmproduktion AB
Snot & Splash And The Mystery Of Disappearing Holes (dir. Teemu Nikki), It’s Alive Films
The Squirrel (dir. Markus Lehmusruusu), Citizen Jane Productions
#Lapland (dir. TBD), Topline Media

Works in Progress (fiction)
70 is Just a Number (dir. Johanna Vuoksenmaa), Dionysos Films
A Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic (dir. Teemu Nikki), It’s Alive Films
A Girl’s Room (dir. Aino Suni), Made, Adastra Films, Oma Inge Film
Sihja (dir. Marja Pyykkö), Tuffi Films, Windmill Film, Den Siste Skilling
Stand Up (working title), (dir. Reetta Aalto), Zodiak Finland
The Twin (dir. Taneli Mustonen), Don Films

Nordic Selection (fiction projects by 1st or 2nd feature directors)
Knocking (dir. Frida Kempff), Läsk
Ninjababy (dir. Yngvild Sve Flikke), Motlys As
Quake (dir. Tinna Hrafnsdóttir), Ursus Parvus
Superposition (dir. Karoline Lyngbye), Beo Starling

Docs in Progress & Development:
The Black Gold (dir. Petteri Saario), Citizen Jane Productions
Eatnameamet – Our Silent Struggle (dir. Suvi West), Vaski Filmi
Guardians of Creation (dir. Iiris Härmä), Guerilla Films
The Last of the Seagulls (dir. Tonislav Hristov), Making Movies
The Mission (dir. Tania Moilanen), Danish Bear Productions
Snowball Effect (dir. Pauliina Punkki), Ida Productions
The Trans Syrian Express (dir. Alina Rudnitskaya), Illume, 317-Films, Arkana Studio
We Are Animals (dir. Saila Kivelä & Vesa Kuosmanen), Tuffi Films